wendy: i think I must be lonely
mary: rubbish, you are the least lonely person that I know, you just spend a lot of your time on your own
We met several months before. We both started a ‘mountain glacier hiking’ course. At 60 Mary was the oldest person on the course. She had not signed up as part of a couple nor was she treating the course as a mate-finding opportunity. How refreshing. I soon started to seek-out Mary’s company while hiking and during the rest breaks. I quickly tired of the chattering from other hikers, normally affluent couples considering what gear to purchase, what restaurant to recommend.
At 60 Mary’s love for her terminally-ill bed-ridden husband was not stated, but it beamed stronger than a lighthouse. She recorded our hiking sessions, the beautiful scenery and laughter, for him with her new digital camera. He could feel part of an active interesting life because she sought this life out and carefully bought it back to his bedside with love. What a fabulously generous heart.
I fell in love with Mary. Not the love that hungers for sexual validation. Not a love that needed to be returned. There was deep peace in her company. Knowing this I invited myself to her home in the foothills of Mount Ranier. The home she had built with her husband before his death so noticibly stepped towards him.
wendy: can I help you gather the leaves from your garden?
Mary: yes. they will fall as fast as you’ll be able to gather them
After a morning gardening, mostly in silence, we went inside and Mary finished the home made french onion soup. She talked while she stirred. Talked of how her father raped her and how the authorities didnt believe her story. Talked of how her sister committed suicide. How she left her bilogical family and built her own new family. How she worked to help abused children and beaten wives. Clearly she has known and seen more loneliness than I could feel.
The cedar dappled autumn sun played on her face. No tears, no frown lines.
It seems we have both found some form of peace amidst life, in the silences